FARGO — You can count on Mae Haagenstad to rise to the occasion.
In this case, quite literally. Haagenstad, the Fargo resident who calls herself “The Weekend Baker,” loves making sourdough bread so much, she started her own home-based business calling it the same name.
“I have a day job, and it has to pay the bills,” Haagenstad said, “but I love baking. Sourdough is my specialty.”
Haagenstad offers popular, artisan-style loaves, which she learned to love when she lived in California. Her most popular flavors are jalapeno cheddar, chocolate and roasted garlic parmesan.
“I missed the sourdough bread [from California],” she said. “There are some bakeries who offer them, but it's just not the same, you know?”
It’s a three-day process to make the dough, which Haagenstad, who is self-taught, has perfected.
“There was a lot of trial and error,” she said.
She offers porch pick-up, which is contactless during the coronavirus pandemic, and the menu changes every week, with up to 20 loaves on offer at any given time. She only bakes on the weekends.
“I bake in the morning, and I put it out on the shelf for them to pick up,” she said.
Her home kitchen has a three-deck Stone oven made specifically for bakers. She can make up to nine loaves at a time. Haagenstad said she operates under the North Dakota “cottage foods law,” which she said allows her to sell baked goods out of her residence to individuals.
“My only limitation is that I can’t do it wholesale,” she said. “I’m happy to keep it small like this.”
She’s come a long way, which even she has to remind herself at times.
Scrolling through her Facebook page, where she posts pictures of her wares, Haagenstad said she realized just how long she’s been doing this.
“I had posted pictures of my old breads, that I did back in 2016,” she said. “I just didn’t realize I’d started it way back then. I was doing it on and off.”
It wasn’t until January that she started selling them in earnest. She sells them by the loaf.
“I really decide how many loaves I make,” Haagenstad said. “So, I could decide to do eight loaves or 20 loaves, and I’ve done a range in between there.”
Loaves are typically $8.
She also makes cookies, but it’s the bread that remains her true love. And, it’s not all about business, either.
“I really do this for fun,” Haagenstad said. “And, it’s a stress reliever.”
Where to find The Weekend Baker: